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Connacht Tribune

Galway writer Deirdre Sullivan’s fairytale job!

Judy Murphy

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Deirdre Sullivan

Lifestyle – Galway writer Deirdre Sullivan has completed an unusual commission to rewrite thirteen classic fairytales.  The fruits of her labour are about to be published. She tells Judy Murphy how she went about it.

As a child, fairytales with a ‘happy ever after ending’ never appealed to Deirdre Sullivan.  She was drawn to darker stories such as The Little Mermaid and The Nightingale and the Rose “because they ended unhappily”.

Those unhappy endings unsettled her and that was part of the attraction, explains Galway-born Deirdre who now lives in Dublin where she works as a teacher and an author.

“Very early on in life, you are told if you do the right thing and behave a certain way, you’ll get the desired result. But in those tales, the characters did all the right things, yet they still didn’t get what they wanted and that felt realistic to me.”

Deirdre, from Clybaun in Galway City, would “stay awake at night worrying about them and how unfair it was”, she recalls with a hearty laugh.

Two years ago, she was given an opportunity to rewrite those fairy tales, offering their characters a happy ending, thanks to a commission from Dublin publishers Little Island. Despite that opportunity, she stayed on the dark side for the collection, Tangleweed and Brine.

The book, which will be published on September 7 by Little Island, is a retelling of 13 fairytales, with a feminist twist. Deirdre is best known as a writer of fiction for young adults but this collection, beautifully illustrated by artist Karen Vaughan, is for all ages.

Little Island commissioned Deirdre to write this book because they knew of her long-time fascination with fairytales.

Her childhood love of them had continued to adulthood, and when she was studying for an MA in Drama at NUIG, she rewrote The Mermaid’s Tale. Some years later, while developing her writing skills, she started doing workshops with young people’s author, Siobhán Parkinson. During those workshops, Deirdre wrote the Woodcutter’s Bride, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

That was the first story in which Parkinson heard Deidre’s ‘voice’ as an author and it led to her first publishing deal. Her debut novel Prim Improper was published by Little Island, which is managed by Parkinson.

It was followed by Proper Order and Primperfect, all written from the point of view of teenager Primrose Leary.

Prim Improper and Proper Order were shortlisted for the Children’s Books Ireland Awards while Primperfect was also shorted tor the European Prize for Literature.

Carving out agency for people who might otherwise have no voice has become central to Deirdre’s work and her most recent novel, Needlework, tells the story of Ces, a 17-year-old who is trying to regain her self-worth after years of abuse and domestic violence at the hands of her father, as her mother goes into meltdown.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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